2012 Château de Bel-Air Lalande-de-Pomerol Bordeaux Red, France
Mentioned in the Cocks & Feret Guides as one of the best wines of the appellation as early as 1922, Château de Bel-Air is situated on a sunny plateau that gently slopes southward. The historical quality of its wines and its privileged position, which guarantees the vineyard ideal sun exposure year-round, have continuously contributed to the acclaim of these high-quality wines. Michel de Laet Derache acquired the property in 2011.
The vines, averaging 40 years of age, are planted on a terroir of gravel brought from the volcanic Massif Central by rivers during the quaternary era, with layers of iron-rich clay. In order to best express the nuances of the site, the vineyard is managed and vinified plot by plot, with a respect for the different ages of the vines, varietals, and rootstocks.
On the nose, notes of red fruit and floral aromas infiltrate the senses. On the palate, a harmonious balance between flesh and tannins means it can be enjoyed after just a few years of cellaring. A delicate wine that is a perfect partner for red meat, poultry, and traditional cheese.
Drinking Window: This wine is ready to enjoy now and will age gracefully through 2026.
Blend: 73% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Lalande de Pomerol, France
Aging: 16-18 months in 45% new French Oak Barrels
Included in the Box
4x 2012 Château de Bel-Air Lalande de Pomerol Bordeaux Red, France
12x 2012 Château de Bel-Air Lalande de Pomerol Bordeaux Red, France
Not for sale online, $540/case MSRP
About The Winery
Winery: Château de Bel-Air
In 2011, Michel de Laet Derache, a private banker, decided to take over the management of Château de Bel-Air.
“Our desire is to get involved in this magnificent terroir (of Lalande de Pomerol) by favoring excellence in work! Our intention is to invest as much in the land and in the vines as in the cellars to provide the qualitative elements with a view to becoming one of the leaders of the Lalande de Pomerol appellation. Evolution is Tradition.” - Michel and Christel de Laet Derache, owners
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From the label:
“Situated on the border of Pomerol, this 16 hectares property is ideally located on clay soil covered with alluvial gravel. 35 years old vines are planted with
75% MERLOT - 20% CABERNET FRANC
5% CABERNET SAUVIGNON
The wine aged between 16 and 18 months in French oak barrels offers elegance and fine character. Best served at 18C with red meat, poultry and traditional cheese.”
The bottle arrived at a fairly cold temperature, probably around 40 or 45F. It was allowed to warm and put away on its side in my wine cellar overnight at around 68F.
Upon opening, the first pour showed a little red-brown around the edges (not a big surprise, given its age), but this did not continue with later pours. Curious. It’s a fairly dark red, with a touch of sediment, mostly on the cork. Not much in the way of legs. Nothing very prominent in the nose. It did not taste like a particularly old wine. My wife, who is quite sensitive to and not fond of the bouquet of older wines, was surprised that this one is a 2012.
The flavor is dominated by what I think of as flat tannins, so it comes off as very dry: my teeth feel clean. Definitely a food wine. Not a fruit bomb, although in the mid-palate and finish something dark (mulberry? black currant?) shows up a little.
It drank well with the salmon we had for dinner. Although at first, it seemed a little harsh, after a while it became pleasant to drink. But although pleasant, it didn’t have much character beyond the dryness. I suspect it is just that it doesn’t appeal to my tastes, and it may be better liked by those who are more fond of the French style. I corked and saved about a third of the bottle at room temperature for a second night.
The second night it was much the same, although it suffered a little from the exposure to air overnight. It is probably best finished the first night.
The next day the Friday offering was the Laura Michael Cabernet 2015 and 17. I opened a bottle of the 2015 vintage from the previous offering and found it had some similarity to the Bel-Air-- both are tannic and fairly
full-bodied. But the Laura Michael has much more prominent fruit and a light touch of wood. Given the price of $25 for the Laura Michael, I would put the Bel-Air at around $15 to $20.
I was sent the 2013 to Rat, and I did my duty, but the 2012 is for sale today. I’d say you Bordeauxphiles lucked out. The 2013 was OK, but I’m sure the 2012 is better.
Check it out…
Chateau de Bel-Air, 2013. Although my first car was a 1953 Chevy Bel-Air, as a 15 year-old kid, I never thought to call my abode Chateau de Bel-Air.
The wine…and I thank Alice and the crew at Casemates for sending me a wine to Rat, and for their effort to keep us well-lubricated. Finally I get a Red, and it looks interesting…however, I’m a New World Red drinker, but I’ll do my best to describe this Old-World effort.
Chateau de Bel-Air Lalande de Pomerol is a Right Bank Bordeaux, and Pomerol is just NorthWest of Saint-Emilion, right in the heart of Merlot blend territory. This wine is 75% Merlot, 20% Cab Franc, and 5% Cab Sauv, and the back label says it was aged 16-18 months in French oak. At 13% Alcohol, this wine should not be terribly “hot”. I notice that these wines are often consumed with quite a bit of age on them, so this 2013 is still a baby.
The cork gave a nice ‘POP’ as I pulled it from the bottle, and was in perfect condition. The bottom was stained dark purple, and a lovely aroma immediately wafted from the bottle’s neck. I poured small amounts for SWMBO and myself. The nose is wonderful, dark berries (blackberries), cassis and a little vanilla. The appearance is not quite as dark/opaque as I would expect, but maybe that’s a French trait.
I looked up the Vintage Chart, and found that 2013 was the worst vintage in the past decade, in fact you’d have to go back to 1999 to find a worse vintage. (2012 was a much better year, especially in Pomerol (90 points vs. 86 points.)) Also, there are plenty of examples of this wine on Cellartracker, most get 90 points, but none are 2013. Did the Chateau leave this wine in their cellar for years for bottle-age, was 2013 a year that produced few grapes, what’s up with that?
First tastes tell me that this is obviously a Bordeaux. Not as rich or fruit-forward as the New-World wines I usually drink, it is well integrated over the entire palate, quite dry, with a medium finish and a bit of sour at the end. I put it throught the Vinturi a couple of times, and it is better. It does go well with aged Cheddar Cheese. We’ll try it again tomorrow with a Flannery Hanger that’s currently hanging out in the freezer.
OK, it’s tomorrow…actually it’s today, but tomorrow for yesterday.
Dinner was fabulous. Grilled (outdoors @ 21° F) Flannery Hanger Steak, Pierogies with (OK, I turned the sour cream into onion dip) and Cauliflower with a previously made Italian dressing.
The wine; after sitting on the counter, corked, overnight, was better, smoother, the minor sour flavor was gone and the only downside was a slight thinness mid-palate. The wine cut the fat of the steak perfectly and a fuller flavor with more fruit was evident. This is a very good food wine.
I’d say; if you like Right Bank Bordeaux, this is a typical example. And if the price is right ($10 (unlikely) to around $15(more likely)/bottle) this might be a good buy and you might even want to put a few bottles away for a few years.
@FritzCat@rjquillin@winedavid49 Already ordered, but I am curious though why FritzCat was sent a bottle of the 2013. Did WCC have a bottle of that vintage by accident or is there a typo on the offer page? It has happened before, and vintage matters more in Bordeaux than many other regions…
Typically $45? Sorry WD but you’re stretching it on some of the pricing on some of these offers…release price was 15 to 20 euro and this is not the kind of wine typically to go up in value even with a few years of bottle age…
…so however pretty much a no brainer. I realize ownership change in 2011 but still, this has always been a reliable label in my humble. 2012 a pretty good vintage on the right bank as well. A snippet from Jeff Leve at Wine Cellar Insider (and yes La Lande de pomerol isn’t pomerol but you get the gist):
“2012 Bordeaux Wine – A classic vintage, in a good way. The best wines come from Pomerol and St. Emilion. However Pomerol is favored as the Merlot for most estates fully ripened. The vintage was also successful in Pessac Leognan, but more difficult in the Medoc, as the Cabernet Sauvignon did not achieve ripeness. While the dry white wines are of high quality, Sauternes was a disaster. Some of the top estates were forced to declassify their entire crop, including Chateau d’Yquem. Most of the red wines will drink well young. Drink 90.”
And from Hachette des Vins Guide 2016:
"2012 Bordelais • Lalande-de-pomerol
still red To drink one star
Very successful wine
The winemaker, representing the fifth generation at the head of a private bank, the Belgian Michel de Laet Derache bought the Château de Bel Air in Lalande in 2011, a 15.6 ha estate mentioned in the 1898 edition of Le Féret. He restructures it methodically: soil studies to create plot vintages, ongoing redevelopment of the vat room and cellars.
The opinion of the Hachette des Vins Guide 2016
Dark purple, this 2012 expresses on the first nose a pleasant and well-melted toasted and vanilla woody note, the red fruits showing aeration. Frank on the attack, both fresh and suave, the palate is silky, round and long. The fruit, more expansive than the bouquet, is accompanied by aromas of mocha and spices. A gourmet style of wine, already pleasant and which will age well.
KEEP : 2017 - 2025
PRODUCTION: 70,000 bottles
@DSF64 honestly this is a no brainer. 2012 was a solid year on the right bank and this should be lovely - probably still takes some air to get to peak but still for this price you’re playing with house money.
@bacchusfugue@rjquillin This definitely seems to be the case. I’ve had a couple of bottles of this now, and first opened, they’re…Not good. However, I’ve been experimenting with the latest bottle which has been open for 4 or 5 days now, and it’s reached the point where it’s quite nice and still improving.
@bacchusfugue@rjquillin@TimW@xandersherry I bought two cases (I’m a sucker for Bordeaux) and have opened three bottles of one case. The first was outstanding and really got me parading around the house like I won the lottery. The other two bottles have both suffered from slight cork taint. No oxidation or vinegar…corks seem to be holding up based on the condition; no striations, not soft, etc. But now, based on what ya’ll are sayin, I’ll be slightly fearful each time I pop a cork.
Of note: received my case of the 2014 and oh goodness…what a pleasure that was! A little bitter in the mid-palate but I kind of dig that and it dissipates after a while…especially with dark chocolate.